Our First Year Doing Elimination Communication

It was my due month and I was excited, overwhelmed, nervous, ready, but not ready all at the same time. When our little guy arrived at 42 weeks he was perfect, smelt divine and our transition to parenthood had begun. Amongst the stacks of knowledge gained during the pregnancy reading phase, Elimination Communication/EC was there. I had accidentally stumbled across it while looking up reusable nappies and, a little over a year down the track, I can say I’m definitely glad I did.

Elimination Communication is when you help your baby poop and wee in the potty, or other ‘receptacles,’ instead of them relying solely on nappies. It is for newborn babies through to 18 months old and is an option a growing number of kiwi families are using in their day-to-day. When I started looking into EC, I honestly didn’t think it would work. I hadn’t heard of it before after all. I dove into learning and found out that from as young as birth, babies communicate by giving signs that they need to go. I also learned that many cultures around the world still use this technique, and western culture used to until about the 1960s. After this, disposable nappies entered the scene and became the social norm. Why not give it a go? Anything to help out with the poo-namis and cleaning load that inevitably comes with a new baby. 

I also learned that many cultures around the world still use this technique, and western culture used to until about the 1960s.

The signals that babies give when they need to ‘go’ look different at each age. Newborns can kick, grunt, get a red face, arch their back or start fussing. Older babies might scratch their nappy, try to wriggle out of their carrier, or move to go outside. These signals often align with your intuition and you find yourself thinking ‘hmm does he need to go?’ and then a second later, your intuition is confirmed! The goal is that your baby’s eliminations are ‘captured’ in a potty, toilet, or out in nature (wees only). Nappies are used as a backup as there will be ‘misses’ when you don’t get the wee or poops in the potty and your little one goes in the nappy or training undies. Misses are completely inevitable and normal throughout your journey with EC – they are actually a great learning tool to recognise the signals for the next time your baby is in a similar situation. 

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